W HEN WE TOOK OFFICE, we promised to increase exports with all our enthusiasm and effort, and we said that we will implement many projects for this purpose. With our 83 thousand exporting companies, we have executed the duty for our country by breaking a record for exports in history of the Republic, despite all the difficulties in last year. With the new record, the first two months of this year did not disappoint us.
One of dhe first project we implemented was the establishment of the TIM Women's Council, which we established in October. Women who are half of our lives, our mind, our love, our family, unfortunately, are not in the place they deserve in business life. We see and know that businesswomen, who are interrupted due to various reasons, face a higher number of problems than businessmen. We have established the Women's Council to solve the problems of women entrepreneurs and exporters, to increase the number of women in the export family and to develop projects in a wide range of areas. We have announced record exports in Ankara together with the TIM Women's Council, which was formed by the women working in the management and supervision boards of our Exporters' Associations.
In the statement we made with the Minister of Trade, Ruhsar Pekcan, she gave the good news that the Export Office of Women and Young Entrepreneurs was established. Such work will enable our women to reach the places they deserve faster.
On the other hand, in the last month we held the 2nd TIM Delegates Workshop with the participation of Minister of Treasury and Finance, Berat Albayrak and Minister of Trade, Ruhsar Pekcan. Representatives of our 27 exporters had directly conveyed their sectoral demands to the authorities. Our ministers quickly got back to these demands. In the automotive and leather industries, the SCT resettlement application has begun to have rapid results in the sectors. We would like to thank our government for showing that it supports the exporter at every opportunity.
Bringing women on in business is one of our efforts to disseminate exports to all parts of the population. The other one is the dissemination of export culture to Anatolia. For this purpose, we held the assembly meeting with Southeastern Anatolia Exporters' Association in Erzurum last month which was held in Gaziantep previously. Hosted by Eastern Anatolia Exporters' Association, which is responsible for 17 out of 81 Turkish provinces, we have discussed the problems of companies, we tried to analyze the opportunities. There is a great potential in Eastern Anatolia as in every side of the country. There are many investment opportunities to mobilize the potential of the region, which is also a very important point for the border countries and logistics.
On every occasion, we express that producing and exporting is not enough, it is absolutely necessary to increase the value added. We also underline that this is firstly possible with the development of design culture. Our exporters' associations continue to maintain the work that we carried out and which has become country-wide with Design Week Turkey event, through the design competitions in their own sectors. Within the last month, our ready-to-wear and jewerly sectors made a final in design competitions, the most successful areas in creation of value added and we put a lot of importance to them. These kinds of competitions are the best tools for bringing designers together and introducing young talents to the industry.
We emphasize that as much as design, innovation is indispensable for value added. As TIM, which had been the first intitution in Turkey for adoption of innovation concept, we have striven to create awareness and make the importance of this issue understood well through the events we have organized since 2012. This year's Turkey Innovation Week, will take place in early May. Internationally professionals will meet the public in Istanbul.
In order to achieve our goal “Turkey with foreign trade surplus”, we will continue to create projects in order to increase the value added of our exports with both women's participation in production and expansion to Anatolia, as well as design and innovation. Wishing that the spring will bring peace and economic growth to our country...